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Spurs targeting Championship winger to replace outbound Bale

| 15.08.2013

As speculation regarding Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid gathers momentum, Tottenham appear to have drawn up a shortlist of players to replace the Welsh star.

The 2012/13 PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year is available to back at 5/6 to sign on at Los Merengues before the close of the transfer window and, according to reports, the player has said he wants to depart White Hart Lane. This has prompted Andre Villas-Boas to sound out a list of potential targets and Blackpool’s sought-after wide man Tom Ince is somewhere near the top.

The 21-year-old former Liverpool trainee is, like Bale, capable of adding valuable goals from midfield, bagging 18 from 44 appearances last term and one from one this.

In addition to this, Ince is also equipped with the pace of fellow Spurs winger Aaron Lennon but, unlike the England international, he is capable of consistently producing satisfactory end products.

It’s easy to see, therefore, why a host of top sides are interested in taking Ince on, but the Tangerines’ £8m asking price is believed to be putting many, including AVB, off making the move.

The player turned down a switch to Premier League newcomers Cardiff earlier in the summer, obviously in favour of landing a move to a bigger club and, while Tottenham certainly fit that bill, whether Ince would be guaranteed a regular first-team slot in north London is the biggest stumbling block from his perspective.

Should Bale leave, Spurs would be in need of a replacement, but while he’s still under their employ, they’d be better served addressing the serious shortage of centre backs currently on their books.

Ahead of their season opener with Crystal Palace – which they’re 4/5 to win – Spurs have just three senior centre backs to pick from. Jan Vertonghen is one of these and he’s ruled out through injury, while Younes Kaboul is only just on his way back after missing the majority of the previous season for the same reason, leaving just Michael Dawson as the only available central defender for the game.

Long-term this is certain to hinder Spurs’ Champions League qualification aspirations, though if they can address the issue, their current price of 11/5 to finish in the top four could prove very generous.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Middleton